• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Eye Witness Testimony

Extracts from this document...


1a. Explain what is meant by the term repression (3 marks) b. Explain what is meant by the term flash bulb memory (3 marks) 2a. Outline one explanation of forgetting in STM (3 marks) b. Outline one explanation of forgetting in LTM (3 marks) 3. Outline and evaluate research into eye witness testimony (18 marks) 1a. Repression is forgetting because the memory holds too much emotion to remain conscious. Freud (1901) believed that some forgetting is an unconscious, motivated process. We forget certain memories because they are too psychologically painful to remain conscious. Therefore we repress them (push out) the memory and they remain inaccessible in our unconscious. For example, abuse experienced as a child might be repressed in memory. b. Flashbulb memories are a special kind of episodic memory, which we can vividly recall in great detail (e.g. September the 11th) It is called a flashbulb memory as the memory is recalled in almost photographic detail. They can also be about personal events, such as the birth of a brother. For Flashbulb memories to occur the event must be emotionally significant and are often unexpected. ...read more.


There are many studies which suggest that EWT is unreliable. Loftus has shown that Eyewitness testimony can be affected by the wording of questions and people's willingness to make the information fit their schemas, which has serious implications for the judicial system since juries are often convinced solely on EWT. Loftus and Palmer (1974) showed the effect of the wording of questions by changing a single verb about the speed of a crashing car. Using the verb 'smashed into' led to a faster speed estimate (41mph) than use of the verb contacted (32mph). Loftus also shows evidence that the style of questioning can dramatically change witness testimonies. Eye witnesses asked about a car passing a barn were later more likely to say they saw a barn, when in fact the barn didn't exist. Loftus believes that in the light of misleading information, the original memory is deleted and replaced by a new false memory. Loftus (1979) also reported a study where participants either saw a man emerge from the lab holding a pen or another holding a paper knife covered in blood. ...read more.


but the errors made were very slightly higher. Many studies have investigated the cognitive interview technique and have found that it provides more accurate information. So perhaps Loftus simply wasn't asking the right questions. Baddeley questions that EWT research is clear cut. He argues that research doesn't prove the deleting of a memory, but interferes with its retrieval. This suggests that reconstructive questioning of witnesses is very important. Yuille & Cutshall (1986) used witnesses of real life crimes, in contrast to Loftus' artificial experiments, and found memories to be accurate, detailed and not easily distorted, so EWT can be reliable. Foster et al (1994) did a study where one group was led to believe a robbery was a real event, and there testimonies would effect the trial, and the other group knew it was just a simulation. Recall was much higher for the first group, showing that knowing there will be consequences creates more accurate memories. In conclusion, EWT can be inaccurate if misleading information is given which is believable and not incredibly significant (e.g. saying a gun instead of a knife) and if witnesses have little reason to distrust it or question it (as in lab experiments). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Cognitive Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Cognitive Psychology essays

  1. Section B Essay: Eye Witness Testimony

    were more accurate than those who saw the customer holding a cheque. This shows that the presence of a weapon can cause witnesses to be less accurate. Conversely, some psychologist have found that it may not be the presence of a weapon, but the unusualness of the situation that can cause witnesses to be less accurate in their recall.

  2. Report on Psychological Research into Eyewitness Testimony

    I was looking around and I thought, 'uh oh, I'm in trouble now'. You know. And then I...I thought I was never going to see my family again. I was really scared you know. And then this old man, he was wearing blue flannel, came up to me...he was kind of old.

  1. Psychology Retrospective Interference coursework

    This is to test whether or not the participants have memorized the 10 adjectives. If the participants did not learn the adjectives perfectly, go back to stage f. If they learned it perfectly, continue to stage h. h) Prepare a stopwatch and time 5 minutes.

  2. A counselling Interview

    I struggled to suddenly use a combination of skills altogether, active listening, appropriate open questioning as well as follow the Egan model and take notes. According to Tyler (1969) and Gilmore (1973) an effective counselling relationship will be underlined by the core qualities of acceptance and unconditional positive regard, similar to Rogers (1961)

  1. Psychology Report

    were actually caused by the changes in the independent variable (IV), I had to control all extraneous variables. An extraneous variable in this study was an order effect. This is when participant's performance in one condition may affect performance in another condition.

  2. "Eyewitness testimony differs from many other aspects of memory in that accuracy is of ...

    We make sense of information by filling in oddities. We distort memories for events to fit in with prior expectations, and lastly, we may use out schemas to provide the basis for a guess. Schemas, therefore may lead to distortions in memory. Research on schemas by Brewer and Treyens supports Bartlet in his claims.

  1. Describe and Evaluate Research by E.Loftus into Eye Witness Testimony, the implications of the ...

    The critical question was 'did you see any broken glass?? which was part of a longer series of questions and was placed in a random position on each participants question paper. There was in fact no broken glass in the film.

  2. Eye witness testimony is so unreliable that it should never be used in convicting ...

    This shows that leading questions can create false memories and in the likes of a courtroom barristers can phrase questions in a certain way to receive the desired answers, which in certain cases may not be the actual truth, although the person being questioned may believe it to be so.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work